Palestine-Israel Immersion Trip 2015, Perkins School of Theology

The January 3-14, 2015, Palestine-Israel Immersion Trip for alumni/ae and students of Perkins School of Theology-SMU — sponsored by the school’s Global Theological Education Program — includes 17 participants. The first-ever Perkins immersion experience for alums will be led by Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, associate professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology. Each day, participants will experience Palestine and Israel through a different theme, including:

– The World of Jesus
– The Birth of Jesus
– Orthodox Christmas
– Jesus in Galilee, Jesus in Judea
– Contemporary Palestine
– Contemporary Israel

The itinerary includes Qumran, Masada, Bethlehem, the Church of the Nativity, Megiddo, Capernaum, Nazareth, Jerusalem, and other locations. In addition to Dr. Clark-Soles, leadership will include Dr. Robert Hunt, director of the Global Theological Education Program, and the Rev. Connie Nelson, director of Public Affairs and Alumni/ae Relations.

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To the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Perkins Palestine-Israel immersion group, pictured in Jerusalem with the golden Dome of the Rock in the background.

The Perkins Palestine-Israel immersion group, pictured in Jerusalem with the golden Dome of the Rock in the background.

The Perkins Palestine-Israel immersion course has been structured around the life of Jesus, visiting locations chronologically in the region that relate to his birth, his life and ministry, his crucifixion and resurrection. Today’s pilgrimage included visits to holy sites in Jerusalem important to the story of the end of Jesus’ life: the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Upper Room, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Near the Mount of Olives is the Church of the Pater Noster (Our Father), built over a cave associated with Jesus’ teaching the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, and also with his ascension. The French convent includes the Lord’s Prayer on ceramic tiles in 162 languages, including Braille. A highlight of the afternoon was the praying of the Lord’s Prayer by members of the Perkins group, in all our native languages: English, Korean, Spanish, and Arabic (by our guide, Iyad).

The day concluded with our group walking the stations of the Via Dolorosa – the path Jesus walked to his crucifixion – and arriving at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the holiest sites in Christendom. Long lines of pilgrims waited in line in the candlelit church, listening to the chants being sung by priests holding their evening service, in order to see the site traditionally held to be the tomb of Jesus.

Perkins student Sungmoon Lee, pictured in the courtyard of the Church of the Pater Noster (Our Father), by The Lord’s Prayer written in the Korean language.

Perkins student Sungmoon Lee, pictured in the courtyard of the Church of the Pater Noster (Our Father), by The Lord’s Prayer written in the Korean language.

Making our way through the narrow streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, along the Via Dolorosa – the path Jesus walked to his crucifixion.

Making our way through the narrow streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, along the Via Dolorosa – the path Jesus walked to his crucifixion.

A carving depicting the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

A carving depicting the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

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Armenian Orthodox priests lead worship in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Armenian Orthodox priests lead worship in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Perkins student Jen Logsdon-Kellogg recites a poem outside King David’s tomb, as members of the immersion group gather around.

Perkins student Jen Logsdon-Kellogg recites a poem outside King David’s tomb, as members of the immersion group gather around.

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